Sunday, December 7, 2014

Five one-hit wonder novelists

One of five authors who became famous after publishing a single novel and never published another one, as tagged by John Bardinelli at The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:
The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

The Sicilian-born Lampedusa was a man who preferred solitude over the company of others. His sister died of diphtheria at a young age, leaving him an only child with a cold and detached father. He joined the army when he was older and ended up fighting in World War I, eventually landing in a POW camp. After his escape he returned to Sicily to study foreign literature, get married, travel with his mother, and become an otherwise ordinary human being.

It wasn’t until he was in his late 50s that Lampedusa finished writing The Leopard, a novel that chronicled the changes in Sicilian life during Italian unification. He submitted it to two publishers but was rejected both times. A year later he was diagnosed with lung cancer, a disease that took his life in the summer of 1957. The Leopard finally saw the light of day almost a year after Lampedusa’s death. It quickly became the best-selling novel in Italian history and is still considered one of the most important works of modern literature, but its posthumous publication means we’ll never know if Lampedusa could have written anything half as good again.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Leopard is one of Peter Mayle's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue